Unfortunately, we are never told exactly how many gallons to flush, and we aren’t given any guidelines or specific tests we can do to make sure the contaminant is no longer in our system. The complexity of water behavior and jab analysis makes getting a truly safe signal impossible.
The problem with municipal line contamination is that there are countless thousands of miles of pipe network, with pumps, tanks, fittings, and valves all along the way. Contamination can hide in dirt clumps, air pockets and areas where water use is low, only to break loose at any random time and make their way to your tap.
I am a proponent of whole house fail-safe purification technology. I recommend the installation of a 20 – 50-micron filter at the point where your water first comes into your home. A pressure gauge on the inlet and outlet will inform you when the filter becomes plugged.
In general, these filters cost less that $35.00 and can conveniently and easily be replaced by the user 2 – 4 times per year. Any qualified vendor can install such a filter.
Line breaks cause mud and caked contaminants from inside the pipes to be released into the piping network. Once repaired and you open your home fixtures to rinse, you are allowing whatever is in the mud and crud to pass through your home, putting you and your loved ones at risk. This contaminated material can get caught up in your pipes and gradually be released into your drinking water over a long period of time.
After a line break, your filter may clog up daily for a few days. If it does, be grateful because otherwise you might be drinking this stuff. Also remember, water that is flowing out of a fixture always appears to be clear and clean. Once collected in a glass however, we often see color or particles
In general, a polypropylene filter housing called a 20” Big Blue is readily available from local water vendors and even plumbing supply houses. I highly recommend it.
Furthermore, an ultraviolet light system installed before the filter mentioned accomplishes wonders at minimizing and virtually eliminating bacterial and viral contamination. These units are exceptionally low maintenance and generally only require a bulb replacement every 1-3 years.
The two steps mentioned here will give your family a higher level of water security and by not changing the overall chemistry of the tap water, will not require intense monitoring and maintenance.